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~In This Issue~April 2013
Jim Chicone Celebrates 30 Years with Merrick
Plant Sale
Golf Schamble
Client Spotlight | Brian J.
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We partner with: 
St Croix White WayMerrick and White Way Cleaners have enjoyed a partnership mutually beneficial to both companies for many years. White Way's roots trace back to 1895! They currently operate nine metro area locations and recently aligned with St. Croix Cleaners to bring green cleaning into the fold. 
Please support our business partners with your spending dollars. 
We value your feedback. Please let us know how we can improve this newsletter, or if you have suggestions for future articles or content, contact our marketing & communications coordinator via email at EmberlyHJ@MerrickInc.org or 
by phone at 651-789-6216. 
We seek your referrals! 
Help us continue to find meaningful work for the clients of Merrick by suggesting business partners who might be interested in hiring a client or a work crew. Send referrals to Executive Director John Wayne Barker at: JWB@merrickinc.org
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Read the Spring Issue of Miracle
Miracle page 1
A quarterly newsletter published by and for self-advocates at Merrick

Looking Ahead
As we all sludge through this long Minnesota winter, aka spring, we can look ahead knowing warmer and sunnier days are in our future. 
A bright spot for both Merrick staff and clients is celebrating Merrick's Training & Technical Assistance Director Jim Chicone's 30 years with the company. Read more below on how Jim has left his mark on Merrick for over a quarter of a century! 
To get your garden in the mood for the planting season ahead, plan to join us for the annual Horticulture Therapy Plant Sale on May 10 and May 11. In addition to the bountiful bargains on various plants, baskets, and patio pots, the Shooting Stars Self-Advocacy group is putting on a spring fundraiser with lots of colorful items for sale to benefit their anti-bullying initiative. Check out the article below for all the details. 
With thoughts of sunshine and warmer spring temps, we invite you to join us for the 18th Annual Charity Golf Schamble at Troy Burne in Hudson, Wisconsin on May 20. Find out more details below, and register online at: http://bit.ly/2013merrickgolfregistration
Whether it be at the plant sale and/or the golf schamble, we do hope to see you (and the sun!) very soon! 
Jim Chicone Celebrates 30 Years with Merrick

Jim began his human services career in 1972 and has worked in both residential and day service positions. He became a Licensed Psychologist in 1982 and joined Merrick, Inc., as the Staff Psychologist on April 11, 1983. His role has evolved over the years and he is now the Director of Training and Technical Assistance. In this position he oversees 

Jim Chicone's Corner
Jim was honored with a dedicated area in the employee breakroom to commemorate his 30 years of service 

compliance with statutory requirements governing employee training, client protection, use of controlled procedures, and the reporting of maltreatment of vulnerable adults. He acts as an internal consultant to the Executive Director and Management Team and serves as the project lead for a variety of program and human resource development initiatives; he also facilitates the functions of the Human Rights Committee. 

Jim and Donna- vintage
Jim and his wife Donna in the days of shag carpeting

Here are a few excerpts from an article published in our employee newsletter where Jim's colleagues reflected on working with him over the years:

  • A client with a hearing disorder calls him either Jim Jerk-Onie or Jim Trick-Pony and no one is quite sure what to make of either name.    
  • Jim was videotaping a client who was having difficulty transitioning between routines to identify cues in the environment that might be triggering the behavior. The client became upset and, after tipping over tables and throwing chairs, ran past Jim who lost his balance and fell backwards into a closet and the doors closed behind him ending the filming session.         
  • Jim was asked to attend a team meeting for a client and the case manager began ranting about how Merrick needed to enroll some of the more challenging clients on his caseload. Not one to raise his voice, Jim snapped his mechanical pencil in half and told the case manager that we do an excellent job working with challenging individuals.  
  • Jim is a facilitator, problem solver, innovator, thinker, leader, devil's advocate, reviewer, teacher, coach, champion, volunteer, secretary, analyst, planner, manager, referee, mentor, and friend. His talents would serve him well as a Secretary of State - a true diplomat and negotiator in understanding the interpersonal relationships our staff bring to the company. 
A quiet leader, Jim can usually be found doing important tasks in the background of most company events to ensure things go as planned. Read Jim's complete bio on the Director's page of our website: www.merrickinc.org/director-bios.html  
Congrats to Jim on 30 years with Merrick and for being a big part of who we are today as an organization! 
Horticulture Therapy Plant Sale | May 10 & 11
What: Annual Horticulture Therapy Plant Sale


When: Friday, May 10 (3-6 p.m.) and Saturday, May 11 (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.)


Where: Merrick's Greenhouse, 3210 Labore Road, Vadnais Heights, MN 55110


Benefiting the Horticulture Therapy Program at Merrick, the annual Plant Sale is a favorite fundraiser for all our flower-friendly supporters. This year's sale features:

  • Annuals, Perennials, Ivy, Accents, & Ornamentals | $1-5
  • Hanging Baskets & Patio Pots | $10
  • Bring a Pot & Build It {Soil Provided} Have clients at Merrick assemble your display for the suggested donation:
    • 10" pots or smaller, $3 plus cost of plants
    • 12" pots or larger, $5 plus cost of plants
100% of the proceeds fund future horticulture therapy programs.  plant graphic
Please bring your own boxes/flats for transporting your purchases. 
Quantities are limited and no pre-orders available! 
Cash or checks only. 
This year's sale also features "Bonus Buys" from the Shooting Stars Self-Advocacy group. They will be selling whimsical garden and pot decor, colorful purses, totes, and jewelry to fund their self-advocacy activities. Prices range from $3-30. See items available for sale at this link: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjEDT9in 
18th Annual Golf Schamble is Monday, May 20

How about spending the day with fellow friends of Merrick on one of the most scenic local golf courses to raise funds for a mission you believe in? If that sounds like your kind of day, than register today for the 18th Annual Charity Golf Schamble at Troy Burne Golf Club in Hudson, Wisconsin.

Participants with Melissa, a client at Merrick, enjoying the 2012 event

 Highlights of the day include:

  • Chip for a Change Contest
  • "Beat the Boss" {Upgraded Contest}
  • Putting Contest
  • Silent Auction
  • BBQ Dinner
  • Team Photos

All levels of golfers are welcome to participate. For more info, including sponsorship availability, and to register for the event, visit: 

Brian J. |  Off Site Services

Ever since he was a young boy, Brian J., a client at Merrick since 2001, has had an astute sense of civic responsibility. Through the support of his family, Brian nurtures a fascination with public service professionals like EMS personnel, fire fighters, and police officers. His love of public service carries over into his décor, and his bedroom is a shrine to the everyday heroes in our communities along with memorabilia from 9-11. Since the age of nine, he has dinner once a month with the fire fighters of St. Paul on East 7th Street. Brian has also coordinated visits to Merrick from law enforcement to share safety information with other self-advocates. Currently, he is working on getting the Ramsey County Canine Unit to visit Merrick and do a presentation. In 2009, the city of St. Paul presented Brian with an Honorary Fire Fighter Award. At this ceremony, he received a certificate and a genuine firefighter's hat.

Brian J
Brian is an on-the-go self-advocate with a smile for everyone!

Another important part of Brian's life is self-advocacy. He is a frequent visitor to the State Capitol and enjoys meeting with legislators, talking to his state representatives on the phone, and even testifying on bills that are dear to his heart. This year, a new iPad app was created by the MN Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities entitled "Telling Your Story" that features 12 self-advocates, including Brian, to teach others how to share their stories with legislators. Brian is very articulate and maneuvers about the Capitol with ease and confidence---he is more successful in stating his points than most who venture down to the Capitol. In addition, look for Brian front and center in any picture taken at the Capitol-whether it is with Governor Mark Dayton, Senator John Marty, or Senator Bev Scalze (formerly his Representative but now his Senator). Brian is a natural "lobbyist' for not only himself but for others with disabilities.


Brian works in the Offsite Placement Services of Merrick and has been with the St. Croix Cleaners (formerly White Way) crew since 2002. He enjoys his work and says, "I love working at my job of delivering dry cleaning. I love the people on the crew, at the plant, and the customers. Customers are always important because they expect us to provide quality service."


His civic pride also extends to the ballot box, and in November, he voted in the General Election along with 110 other clients at Merrick. Brian takes great pride in being a teacher and role model for others showing them how being empowered can help change attitudes and public policy. He is a constituent, citizen, voter, son, brother, volunteer, taxpayer, worker, self-advocate, civic leader, presenter, and resident of Little Canada---truly involved in making the world a better place.


Get to know more clients at Merrick with the client spotlight stories on our website: http://bit.ly/clientspotlight 
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Thank you for your continued support of Merrick, Inc.